Last week was a glorious time to be online for one specific reason. Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg shared a selfie from Horizon Worlds, Meta’s worldbuilding virtual reality game, to celebrate its launch in France and Spain, and promptly got dragged to hell and back over the fact that it looked, well, terrible.
People who buy and use the best VR headsets are generally doing so because they like the idea of being on the cutting edge of technology, and this selfie really, really was not that. The character and environments wouldn’t have looked out of place on a Game Boy Advance, rather than on the supposed platform of the future created by one of the richest companies in the world.
Users across all social media platforms united in their glee to point out that this billion-dollar project somehow looked worse than a PlayStation 1 game. “So as far as I can tell, the Metaverse is just Animal Crossing but you’re being hunted by Mark Zuckerberg,” said one Twitter user (opens in new tab), while another describe the virtual world as “eye-gougingly ugly (opens in new tab)”.
The memes, too, were something truly special. I’m not sure I’ve ever forwarded a post to multiple group chats as fast as I did this one by @MNateShyamalan (opens in new tab). While reactions varied, it is safe to say that people were, on the whole, unimpressed.
Well, it seems that Mark Zuckerberg noticed the mockery, as he has now shared an updated selfie across Facebook and Instagram. The post shows a much more realistic and detailed avatar of Zuckerberg, along with a virtual environment that looks like an ancient Greek or Roman city.
In his caption, he said, “Major updates to Horizon and avatar graphics coming soon. I'll share more at Connect.” (Connect is the upcoming Meta conference, focused principally on VR and AR).
Zuckerberg went on to address the previous selfie, somewhat snippily, saying, “Also, I know the photo I posted earlier this week was pretty basic -- it was taken very quickly to celebrate a launch. The graphics in Horizon are capable of much more -- even on headsets -- and Horizon is improving very quickly.”
It’s not entirely clear what “taken very quickly” means in the context of the metaverse – what, the graphics would have improved if he’d taken more time over getting the angle right? But regardless, Zuckerberg’s avatar has gone from looking like a Wii Sports first draft to a DLC-only leader from Civilization VI, which only the most churlish of people would not describe as an improvement.
We’ll have to wait to see more of what the future of Mark Zuckerberg’s metaverse will involve. In the meantime, check out our guide to the best VR apps for experiences that show off what virtual reality can do, or the best games consoles if you’re more in the mood for some old-fashioned gaming from the couch.